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John Cross writes in The Daily Mirror...
Wing and a Prayer
Ashley Young has given England an injury scare ahead of Sunday’s quarter-final. Young was still limping heavily with a shin injury on Wednesday, almost 24 hours after a collision with Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko during the Three Lions' Group D win over the co-hosts. Manchester United and England forward Young will have further treatment on Thursday and said he is “hopeful” of being fit to face Italy in Kiev. Young suffered bad bruising and while the England medical staff are optimistic he will be fit, it is believed to be a concern for manager Roy Hodgson. The England boss will hold a closed training session on Thursday as he looks to try to maintain the fitness of his players. While Young is the biggest worry, others who appeared in every group game may do light work in the gym rather than a full programme.
The Guardian speculates that Young - if fit - and his United cohort Wayne Rooney could be nominated for penalty-taking duty if England's quarter-final clash with Italy cannot be decided across 90 minutes and extra-time.
Widespread previews portray Sunday's clash between England and Italy as a meeting of two unpredictable firebrand strikers: Rooney and Manchester City's Mario Balotelli. The Sun bellows into a dangling microphone: "In the blue corner it’s Italian striker Balo, whose petulance is rivalled only by his talent. And in the white corner is Rooney, who the nation prays has curbed his red-mist temper." Hmm.
In transfer news, The Daily Mirror claims Tottenham are on the verge of pipping United, Arsenal and Newcastle to the signature of Ajax's Jan Vertonghen. The highly-rated Belgian international defender could wrap up a move to White Hart Lane this week, apparently.